TRIGGER FAST has enough plot for a shelf full of Zane Grey novels, but it fails to offer any insight into its post-Civil War setting, or to keep the viewer interested in its smorgasbord of cowboy stereotypes.
In 1867, the Southern states are unofficially ruled by ruthless land barons who have the politicians and state militia in their deep pockets. When his cattle-owner pal Jack Neumann (Jurgen Prochnow) is murdered so that Brent Mallick (Corbin Bernsen) can steal his land, retired Confederate
General Jackson "Ole Devil" Hardin (Martin Sheen) calls in a group of former soldiers who call themselves the Floating Outfit. Hardin asks Dusty Fog (Christopher Atkins), together with his cohorts Miguel and "The Kid," to ensure that Neumann's neighbor, Frida, is not coerced into selling her land.
While Mallick's men continue to intimidate settlers, The Kid rides off to deliver tax money to a corrupt governor in order to legally save Frida's spread.
Dusty is astonished when a former comrade, Mark, signs on with Mallick's lawless bunch. Mallick's desperados plan to ambush The Kid, so Miguel gallops off to even the stakes. After a scuffle involving the improper branding of Neumann's cattle, Dusty is forced to turn himself in for killing one
of Mallick's cattle rustlers. Mark is tortured by his sadistic compadres when he tries to prevent Mallick and crew from lynching an innocent ranch hand of Frida's and, when Frida's knights-in-chaps return, they're ambushed by Mallick's outlaw band. Finally seeing his scurvy sibling in a new light,
Mallick's weak-willed brother Jeb risks his neck to release Mark and do battle for Frida. Shamed into a change of heart, the local sheriff frees Dusty, who rides to rescue his wounded compatriots. Determined to rid the world of Mallick's enforcer Trace, Dusty shoots him in the hand as he hangs
from a mountain ledge so that he'll fall to his well-deserved death. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a whole lot of ramrodding and shooting leaves Mallick dead by his brother's hand.
Juggling multiple subplots and a huge cast of lawbreakers, TRIGGER FAST bites off more than its limited expository skills can chew. Despite all the shooting, roping, lynching, and stunt riding that fills the screen, viewers are almost certain to lose track of who's doing what to whom as the
prairie tales pile up like rodeo casualties. In addition, the choppy editing and TV-style dissolves lead one to expect to see commercials at regular intervals. TRIGGER FAST is earnestly acted by a rather reserved cast that seems reluctant to give it their all, and treats its "little folks vs.
corrupt government theme" with a seriousness that's undermined by clumsy storytelling. (Graphic violence, profanity, extensive nudity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: TRIGGER FAST has enough plot for a shelf full of Zane Grey novels, but it fails to offer any insight into its post-Civil War setting, or to keep the viewer interested in its smorgasbord of cowboy stereotypes. In 1867, the Southern states are unofficiall… (more)